Thursday, February 22, 2007

The EPIC Church Phenomena

So, have you heard about the EPIC church phenomena? The Tuesday post on One Apostolic and Catholic Church blog was very insightful in alerting me to this new movement, although I think that I heard about it before. Read "Contemporary Church = Baalam" and see the link they discovered to one of the EPIC church websites that is also LCMS. It is scandalous, to say the least. This church is currently using sex as a selling point to attract people. Check out the Yahoo News article here for more information. Admittedly the context of a news article is sometimes a bit deceptive, but his section really hit me:

Epic Church wanted to take a closer look at the issue of sex because it is so prominent in our culture today. According to statistics given by ABC's Primetime Live in 2004, over 29% of adults in America said they have had sex on a first date. The Kinsey Institute also reported that, by the age of nineteen, 77% of girls and 69% of boys have been sexually active. To add to those overwhelming statistics, the revenue that came in from pornography in 2005 was higher than the revenues of all professional football, baseball, and basketball franchises combined. Television has even pushed the limit year- after-year, with the continuous addition of more sexual situations in both daytime and primetime timeslots.

"We're not here to condemn anybody," added Kade. "We wanted to do this series to help the community deal with a topic that can be difficult to address in the home. It seems that many people bottle up the sex conversation, which can often lead to bigger problems down the road."

My fear is that although they advertise themselves as a biblically-based church, they are going to soft pedal this issue when it comes to the prominent sins of our time. "We're not here to condemn anybody"? What does that mean? No law?

It would appear that the EPIC church movement is cross-denominational. In a brief search I found an article by a United Methodist bishop praising the movement. The EPIC acronym stands for "Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven, and Connecting." Very post-modern, to say the least.

They also appear very anti-historical and anti-traditional. In fact, it would appear that they revel in mocking the sacred. Check out Pastor Kozak's blog site here. He discovered an EPIC church advertisement for "Deep Dish Communion Wafers." Come again?

Their worship, predictably, is cutting-edge contemporary, and avoids any connection with the traditional liturgy of the church. At the website for Lighthouse Lutheran Church in Oklahoma (LCMS, by the way), they describe how their EPIC-styled church started, especially the worship aspect. I have always held that contemporary worship is contrary to the Bible's injunction to worship God in reverence, and here I found more proof. The author notes:

"The new worshipping group had no organist or pianist and Lutheran worship without music was considered unthinkable. Pastor borrowed his son’s boom box and the walls vibrated with contemporary CD worship music themes. (Several Jefferson’s Garden residents began to attend the worship not being sure if it was a church or a youth concert -- but the foot tapping enjoyment was obvious.)"

"Several Jefferson's Garden residents began to attend not being sure if it was a church or a youth concert." That tells you everything. If one cannot tell worship apart from a concert, then it is no worship at all.

Back about a year or so ago there was an interesting discussion of the EPIC church on Bunnie Diel's blog, and it resulted in an interchange with actual EPIC church members. The discussion is long in the comments section, but it is insightful if you really want to see how they think. Check it out here.

Also, the beginnings of this church movment, it should be noted, are firmly rooted in the Baptist culture. To learn more about their beginnings, check out the actual website here.

Overall, the EPIC church phenomena is in one sense just another faze the CG people have invented. However, it also feels very dangerous, even more so than the more tame versions of Church Growth events in the past.

Thanks to David for alerting me. I'll be watching this one more closely....

1 comment:

The Heresy Hunter said...

Check the link at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,254684,00.html
Epic has made Fox News.